The River

The River Short Film

Why Watch? By putting three lives in focus, this short doc from Adam Patterson and Sam Strickland mixes fundamental, universal elements of our relationships to craft a baptismal font for human nature. The result is both a spotlight for each as an isolated moment in time and a mirrored glimpse at the fullness of lives as they thematically bump into one another. It’s a compelling exploration of the average as extraordinary, but it’s undeniable that the gorgeous photography aids in making the small seem epic. Still, the true wonder of the film is in how easy it becomes to see yourself in all three of its subjects.

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Channel Guide - Large

Space western Firefly is one of those TV shows that every geek is supposed to have seen—it’s Whedon, it’s shiny, it’s a part of the sci-fi canon. Yet, it was only on the air for one season. The upcoming cast reunion at next week’s San Diego Comic-Con is one of the event’s most anticipated panels, but would this be true if the show had gone on for three more years? Would later seasons be able to match the first? Of course, no one can know the answer to that but I think when you consider the show’s enduring appeal, as well as the appeal of one-season wonders in general, you could say that unceremonious, early cancelation is actually a good thing.  When we’re presented with a show where the writing, acting, and production have achieved what feels like a perfect synergy, and then that’s yanked away, it’s infuriating. But maybe we should celebrate that ending.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Some great releases hit shelves today with two of the best hailing from the UK. Also out this week are the McG misfire This Means War, the classic TV series Route 66, the hilarious tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tails, Daniel Radcliffe’s creepy period piece The Woman In Black, and many more. Bonus points to anyone who can match the three ‘giant’ items from this week’s title above to the three characters/performers below. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Perfect Sense A chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as a strange new disease begins to spread worldwide. People are struck with a strong emotional response immediately followed by the loss of one of their senses. It’s like Contagion but with heart and personality. This is a beautiful film about life, love and what it means to be human. It’s a must-see about mankind’s resilience in the face of loss and devastation. Just be sure to watch it before your vision and hearing fade away.

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Channel Guide - Large

Since no new ABC supernatural or sci-fi drama can stand on its own merits, The River has been touted as the latest attempt to replicate the sort of success and intrigue that the network had with Lost—as you may remember, 2009’s Flash Forward and V were both met with the same comparison upon their debuts. The Steven Spielberg-produced series is an adventure-paranormal-horror-thriller hybrid and because one of its creators is Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli, it’s no surprise that the story, set in the spooky, uncharted regions of the Amazon, is presented to us as found footage. “Found footage,” you exclaim, possibly scrunching your face up in disgust. “Does this Peli character realize that there are other ways to frame a story?” Apparently he doesn’t. But that’s okay, because the concept works here, at least in the short term.

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Channel Guide: A Column About TV

Ah, the television midseason. By now, the public has decided which new shows they’ll stick with (Revenge, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl), which they’re unsure about (Pan Am, Prime Suspect, Once Upon a Time) and which aren’t even worth thinking about (The Playboy Club, Free Agents). There’s little chance that if something hasn’t become appointment viewing by now, it’s worth cancelling the DVR season pass. So while we’re all finally getting over the tragedy that was Charlie’s Angels, the network bigwigs are using their highly-representative sample (comprised, one can only imagine, of elderly people, religious zealots, and the entirety of the state of West Virginia) to determine just what they’ll throw at us next. Sure, some of the best shows have been birthed out of a midseason replacement (ahem, Happy Endings, ahem), but the pickings are often more than slim – shows the networks don’t often find strong enough to debut with their fellow newbies in the fall. So what will we have to look forward to (or to run away from) in our TV Guide in the coming weeks? Sure, PBS will kick off the second season of critical and ratings darling Downton Abbey January 8th, while NBC’s 30 Rock is back January 12th. Cee-Lo Green will once again be gracing our television screens with The Voice’s post-Superbowl premiere, and Timothy Olyphant will be emanating his rugged swagger on Justified once more, as the lawman drama kicks off its third season January 17th. But what of the newly minted […]

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Continuing with our on-going coverage of all things TV for the next few days, NBC has made yet another pick up announcement for four more series orders. The four pilots that have been picked up to series are “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, starring Laura Prepon, Free Agents, starring Hank Azaria, Bent, starring Amanda Peet, and BFF (formerly Best Friends Forever)” according to TV By The Numbers. The astute reader will notice that all of these series are comedies. Could NBC be planning another day worth of prime time comedy in addition to their already stacked Thursday night comedy block? It’s looking very likely. As for the cancellations? The peacock has decided to finally pull the plug on the god awful demon spawn that is The Event. The show has been an absolute mess since day one with a forcefully, and annoyingly convoluted plot. Let this failed show be a sign to all other networks, just because one sci-fi show is successful (LOST), doesn’t mean all of them will be. Of course, that’s not all that got cut.

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